• Steph Stephens

Calm in a world of panic

With the ever-increasing numbers of COVID-19, everyone is starting to panic and worry about the effects on themselves and their families. This in turn is causing a high state of anxiety in a lot of people. As I had to work from home last week, I had my work mobile with me so clients could contact me and vice versa.

Susan (not her real name) a client of mine, phoned me in a very distressed state last week, she couldn’t catch her breath and was crying. When I managed to calm her down, she explained that she was having continuous panic attacks as she thought she was going to die.

Susan lives on her own and hasn’t been out for a week since the pandemic was declared and has had her food delivered by a kind neighbour. She is 73 years old and immediately thought that she would contract the virus because of her age.

I explained to Susan that as I wasn’t a Doctor, I couldn’t answer her medical questions but the fact that she hadn’t been out and was self-isolating was definitely in her favour. We then went on to talk about ways to remain calm and grounding strategies.

I reminded Susan about the breathing techniques we had used a couple of months ago when she was feeling highly anxious and how taking deep breaths from her diaphragm encourages full oxygen exchange, slows the heartbeat and may lower blood pressure, creating calm.

Susan said that the deep breathing helped but did I know anything to make her focus more as she felt that her mind was all over the place. To help with grounding I asked Susan to acknowledge 5 things that she could see, 4 things she could touch, 3 things she could hear, 2 things she could smell and 1 thing she could taste.

By combining the two techniques, Susan said that she felt much better and would continue to practise them in times of anxiety and panic.

All of us can practise the above techniques to help create a calm space moving forward in tumultuous times.

Kind regards,

Steph Stephens

Community Worker SJC

Items required: Tinned fruit, tinned chunky soup, tinned meat and soap

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